Kid-Friendly Activities

Ten creative endeavors that aid in children's development.

Looking for positive ways to keep the kids active? Encourage your kin to heed these suggestions for an entertaining and memorable time.

Put on a play or concert and enhance creativity. Kids love to show off their talents. Aspiring actors or musicians in the family should get together with other performer-friends to entertain families or neighbors.

Help a neighbor and develop compassion and responsibility. Many neighbors in your community would greatly appreciate some assistance around the house, in the yard, or with shopping, pets or errands. An hour or two a week allows your child to be helpful and gives your neighbor some assistance and company.

Start a book club to sharpen reading skills. If your kids have been given a reading list for school, they’ll have an easier time of it if they work with study buddies. Invite children’s friends over for a reading and discussion session, followed by pizza and a movie. For a list of recommended reading, visit www.sylvanlearning.com.

Form a new sports team and learn research skills. Kids are always interested in the new and unusual. Find a safe sport that isn’t common at your school, such as windsurfing, sailing or bocce and learn about it and even try it.

Hike a hundred miles and gain perseverance and writing skills. Set a distance goal, and go for it. Even if you’re not near nature trails or green forests, measure a few routes around your neighborhood and hike away a couple of times a week. An inexpensive pedometer and a hiking journal let you keep track of your progress. Another alternative is charting a course at www.mapmyrun.com. Include descriptions of new things you discovered, whom you walked with, what you talked about, what songs you sang and maybe even some clever drawings.

Make a movie, and sharpen writing and leadership skills. It’s easier to become a junior filmmaker these days thanks to inexpensive cameras and computer programs that help develop creativity and imagination. Kids can write their own scripts, reenact scenes from favorite movies, create new endings for those films and dramatize episodes from favorite books.

Garden to learn about geometry, botany and budgeting. Designate a small plot of yard for flowers, plants or vegetables. At the library or online, research gardens and gardening techniques. Put aside money perhaps from an allowance for seeds. Design the plot, nurture it and reap the benefits.

Exhibit paintings or photographs and boost artistic skills. Every child has an artistic streak. Draw, use pastels, watercolor or paint. Or take photos of friends, games, pets, flowers, neighbors, events or hikes. Put the photos in a hard-copy album or post them online to share with others. Add captions, too!

Play board games to encourage logical thinking. It’s fun to have a board game marathon. Choose your game: Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, cribbage. Invite friends over, serve snacks, laugh a lot. Be sure to take some pictures for your journal.

Play dress up, which allows the imagination to soar. Choose old clothes and inexpensive accessories from around the house or ask parents to get creative with the sewing machine.

Watch your children’s creativity take flight while your kids’ minds and bodies stay active, social skills remain keen and overall enjoyment is high.